Suffering a thumb sprain can be a painful event. The thumb is one of those body parts that you undervalue until something is wrong with it. It is hard to live a normal life without a thumb, especially when it is your dominant hand. If you are an athlete with a thumb injury, it is hard to catch, shoot or throw balls with thumb ligaments sprained. The key to dealing with a thumb sprain or any other injury is to take care of it early on and not let it get worse.
Anatomy of Thumb Sprain and Thumb Ligaments
A thumb sprain occurs when the ligaments of the thumb at the metacarpophalangeal joint. The injury often occurs from the thumb being bent back too far and damaging the joint capsule. When the sprain is severe enough, it can even lead to an utterly ruptured ligament.
Causes of Thumb Sprain to Thumb Ligaments
- Falling awkwardly
- Racquet sports
- Catching ball (like football)
- Throwing ball
- Blocking a ball (like in volleyball)
Symptoms of Thumb Sprain
- Bruising around the base of the thumb
- Tenderness around the base of the thumb
- Swelling around the base of the thumb
If the unit collateral ligament is completely torn, the ligament may roll up under the skin. Thumb will most likely feel unstable and be painful to move.
Treatment of Thumb Sprain and Thumb Ligaments
A doctor or sports medicine professional will sit down with you and ask you some basic questions first. Their goal will be to get a complete understanding of your injury and how it has occurred. Then they will perform a quick evaluation of your hand and thumb. They will move things around and press in different places to see what brings you pain. During this time, the doctor will move the thumb into a different position to test if there is any ligament damage.
For a better understanding of the injury, the doctor will most likely order some form of imaging including:
X-ray for Thumb Sprain
- Show the boney structures of the hand and thumb
- Check for avulsion fractures
- Helps doctor to see where the bone damage has been done
- Doctors will x-ray both hands just for a comparison
MRI of Thumb Ligaments
- Additional imaging is sometimes needed
- MRI can help to see ligaments and other soft tissue
Homecare for Thumb Sprain and Thumb Ligaments
If you are not in an urgent rush to get back to using your thumb again, you can always try and take care of it yourself. It is risky because there could be more wrong than a thumb sprain but you miss it.
Rest – Avoid using the entire hand for the next few days
Ice – Apply ice to the area to help keep swelling down. Ice is very controversial so use your best judgment. If you do not feel like ice is helping it to feel better than stop using it.
Compression – To reduce swelling in the thumb, wear an elastic bandage around it.
Elevation – It can be tricky to do, but you want to keep your thumb above your heart as much as possible to help with drainage.
If there is an actual fracture or ligament damage in your thumb, this will not work. The home treatment only works if you are just dealing with a mildly sprained thumb.
Prevention of Thumb Sprain
There is not a lot you can do to prevent a thumb sprain. The reason is that the injury usually comes from an awkward contact with the ground or a ball. A lot of the time the force of these falls are more than even a strong thumb can handle.
When it comes to thumb sprains from catching and throwing balls though that is a bit different. If you feel the base of your hand right above the wrist, you will feel a fat pad. That fat pad is the muscle you want to get stronger and that only happens from squeezing things with your thumb and fingers.
Finding Health Care Providers for Thumb Sprains and Thumb Ligaments
Kho Health lets you search for providers by type and skill. For example, you can look for a Massage Therapist that also knows Graston Technique. It does not matter what kind of provider you need, Kho Health can help you find them and help you to sort through their skills.
If you are unsure where to start your journey, Kho Health will ask you questions and help you figure out the best starting place. All you have to do is answer a few questions. From there Kho Health will connect you with the type of provider best suited for your needs. It does not matter if you are injured or coming off of a thumb sprain.
The platform makes it easy to compare health providers as they are all given a Kho Number. Once you are shown the best local options, how do you know which is the best? Reading bios and reviews is just not enough because you need more than that.
Skill Sets to Look for In Sports Medicine Providers to Treat Thumb Ligaments
Skill sets are the things healthcare providers learn after they graduate. A healthcare provider can take courses and get certifications for different skill sets. These skill sets are valuable and help them approach injuries from different perspectives for the benefit of your thumb sprain.
- Dry needling
- Joint Manipulation
- Active Release Technique
- Graston Technique
- Functional Movement Screen
- Fascial Stretching
- Strength and Conditioning Coach
- Athletic Trainer
- Sports Background
- And many more